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Over the past 12 months, advertisers’ understanding of cross-device targeting and the identity matching methodologies behind the technology have improved. With that improvement comes added expectations for the types of data that can be added to these identity graphs and the locations in which that targeting can be applied, such as in living rooms and in stores, according to a new eMarketer report,“Cross-Device Targeting: A More Holistic Audience View and a More Compelling Customer Experience” (eMarketer PRO customers only).
A January 2016 survey of US digital marketing and media practitioners showed similar demand. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Data Center of Excellence and the Winterberry Group found about 70% of respondents cited cross-device audience recognition as the topic that would command most of their attention this year.
Demand for cross-device targeting is high, and there is no shortage of ad tech players and solutions providers that have made headlines in the past year boasting such offerings. But advertisers are still incorporating these capabilities into their marketing programs.
Among the marketers in North America polled in March 2016 by Econsultancy, less than half reported the ability to understand cross-device behavior, understand cross-channel purchase paths and tailor creative to meet those understood behaviors. Slightly more than half reported the ability to utilize customer data to find similar audiences, but it’s important to acknowledge that such a capability might be applied to a single platform or channel, not a cross-device or cross-channel strategy.
“Ironically, there are probably more companies that are targeting media across devices than there are companies that actually understand the cross-device behavior of their customer base,” said Brandon Wishnow, executive vice president of measurement and activation for Ovative/group, a media consulting firm that specializes in helping clients with managing their audience data in order to carry out essential digital functions, such as omnichannel measurement. “They’re using any number of targeting technologies that are out there to buy media, but they’re not necessarily close-looped with their measurement.”
Such a distinction is becoming more important. Cross-device may have started as a solution for identifying individuals across multiple devices and screens, but it is broadening into something buyers and sellers turn to for a much more complete understanding of their audiences.
“In the last year or so, marketers have begun to realize that it’s not just cross-device targeting and measurement,” said Tomer Naveh, chief technology officer at Adgorithms, an artificial intelligence marketing firm. “It’s cross-device and cross-channel to look at the holistic journey that the users go through to understand how to optimize those journeys.”
As a result, buyers, sellers and other tech players requiring audience identification capabilities are moving quickly to change how they vet cross-device solution providers.
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